3linksItalian sausagespicy or mild, casings removed
½largered onionthinly sliced
1largered bell pepperseeds and membranes removed, thinly sliced
1largegreen bell pepperseeds and membranes removed, thinly sliced
1can (15-ounce)crushed tomatoesor 2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
1teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes
2cupsshredded Mozzarella cheesedivided
Fresh basil leavesfor garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart round baking dish with cooking spray.
Bring chicken broth or water, salt, butter and garlic to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta and cook until thickened, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat then stir in Parmesan cheese and egg.
Immediately transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
Sausage and Peppers
While polenta base is baking, heat olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up and crumbling the meat as it cooks until it's cooked through and no longer pink, approximately 7-8 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and bell pepper to drippings remaining in the pan. Cook 4-5 minutes or until softened but still have some "bite." Stir in garlic and cook briefly, 30 seconds.
Combine crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. (This can be done right in the can using a small spoon to stir.) If using prepared marinara sauce, omit the Italian seasoning.
Spread seasoned crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce over the polenta.
Sprinkle with half the cheese.
Evenly distribute the sausage and peppers over the tomatoes/sauce.
Top with remaining cheese.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until hot, bubbling and cheese is nicely melted.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Substitute turkey or chicken Italian sausage. Give the recipe a Southwestern twist with chorizo, Monterey jack cheese and Poblano peppers.MAKE AHEAD: Can be assembled 1-2 days in advance. Add 15-20 minutes to the baking time.FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Bake as directed. Cool and cut into quarters or wedges. Wrap securely or place in an airtight container. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees.TO REHEAT LEFTOVERS: Cut into wedges and heat individual wedges at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.